Track Description: 
The MSM of color track addresses the intersections of HIV, HCV, STIs, and LGBT health among MSM of color, particularly among racial and ethnic minority groups in underserved and disenfranchised  communities. Sessions in this track stress the importance of building the capacity of the healthcare workforce through multi-stakeholder informed learning and curriculum development; engagement and collaboration informed by quantitative and qualitative data; peer navigation programs based on community-based participatory action research-informed approaches; and stakeholder engagement supporting greater uptake in HIV prevention approaches among underserved perspectives.

Session #1: 

Session Title: Best Practices in Learning and Curriculum Development to Support Holistic Health Among MSM of Color

Session Description:

Black men who have sex with men (Black MSM) are among the highest risk groups for contracting HIV in the United States. Estimates indicate that nearly a quarter of Black MSM who are seronegative at age 18 will have HIV by the time they are age 25, and data from the CDC indicate that young Black MSM are almost four times more likely than their White or Hispanic peers to be HIV positive. This session provides health care workers and other stakeholders valuable skills in understanding how providers can overcome internal biases and link BMSM with HIV and those at high risk for HIV into testing, treatment, and care. This session will detail best practices to increase provider health literacy, enhance cultural mindfulness, increase collaboration amongst providers statewide, and develop and implement quality improvement projects as a multi-regional approach for improved health outcomes for Black MSM. It is essential for community-based organizations, federally-qualified health centers, and other organizations engaging Black MSM in any HIV prevention and treatment service. 

Participants will hear of a training that helps providers breakdown and overcome dominant, heternormative notions of Black masculinity, which often intersect with racism and violence, resulting in powerful stereotypes about men of color. Participants also will learn how that MSM of color described as “hard to reach” often are blocked by psychosocial and structural barriers determinants, such as racism, stigma, lack of cultural mindfulness, and other psychosocial barriers. Providers must address these barriers to effectively engage this population in services. Participants also will learn about a hands-on coaching and peer support program that addresses structural issues in HIV care and reduces HIV disparities experienced by Black MSM. 

Session Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the social determinants that undermine the engagement, recruitment, and retention of Black MSM in health care;

  2. etail how social norms around masculinity support the creation and dissemination of stereotypes that make it hard for others to hear and understand the lived experiences and stories of individuals, including those of men of color, that do not align with the dominant story/culture of masculinity; 

  3. Detail the strategies that were used to employ evidenced-based practices in healthcare settings;

  4. Outline diverse methods to engage and retain Black MSM in HIV prevention and treatment services;

  5. Discuss best practices to increase cultural mindfulness of service providers who work with Black MSM;

  6. Enumerate strategies to increase statewide (or multi-regional) collaboration among HIV service providers; and

  7. Explain how to develop and implement quality improvement projects to mitigate health disparities among Black MSM

Session #2: 

Session Title: MSM of Color: Engagement and Community Collaboration

Session Description:

Black bisexual, gay, and men who sex with men (BGM) are less likely than their white counterparts to access and use biomedical interventions, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to reduce their lifetime risk of acquiring HIV. Organizations serving this population often describe BGM as a “hard to reach high risk population”.

In this session, participants will learn innovative approaches to engaging MSM across in HIV prevention, treatment, and support services through the recruitment, hiring, and training of appropriate team members; using data to drive HIV prevention practices; and engaging and retaining trained members of the client population in prevention, education, testing, treatment and social support services. We will also highlight how to create a network and base of engagement in areas where YMSM live, are educated and employed at a higher rate.

Session Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the lived experiences and social determinants that undermine use of biomedical interventions and engagement in care among BGM;

  2. Discuss wellness and resilience among BGM from a sociocultural-reality framework; 

  3. Describe the differences in overall wellness between BGM and other populations in the U.S.;

  4. Detail current beliefs held by providers concerning the reluctance of BGM to engage in health care services and biomedical HIV prevention approaches (PrEP and PEP), in particular;  

  5. Discuss culturally-appropriate digital marketing approaches and how they can be used to recruit BGM into care and encourage use of PrEP and PEP; 

  6. Leverage diverse qualitative and qualitative approaches to collect and analyze data in order to understand the population’s needs; and

  7. Detail how to create and sustain safe spaces for BGM that support retention in care and use of PrEP and PEP

Session #3: 

Session Title: MSM of Color: Developing and Supporting Peer Navigation to Improve MSM Engagement and Retention in Care

Session Description:

Participants in this training will learn how the lived experiences and social determinants of Black men who have sex with men across can inform how they appraoch and are impacted by peer navigation. Speakers will discuss training elements essential to successful peer navigation training: HIV 101, HIV testing, social determinants of health, motivational interviewing, drug resistance and adherence to HIV treatment, entry into and retention in care, stigma, and implicit bias. Themes of holistic health, and their relationship to social network support and peer navigation, will be outlined.  

Session Learning Objectives:

  1. Explain the need for a peer navigation training programs, and how they are developed and implemented; 

  2. Detail how a peer navigation training can help peers apply knowledge in their work with clients; connected peers to each other; and enable them to help clients move through the continuum of care more efficiently; and

  3. Describe the social determinants that inform BMSM’s uptake of health services and peer navigation support. 

Session #4: 

Session Title: MSM of Color: Expanding HIV Prevention and Care Opportunities

Session Description:

This session will discuss barriers to dissemination and uptake of preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) undetectable=untransmittable (U=U) among men who have sex with men of color (MSMOC). To understand this issue, speakers will discuss cultural competency and its impact on the uptake of service delivery among medically LGBTQ+ populations. 

Engagement and retention of LGBTQ+ persons in care is vital to improving health outcomes among this among this population, while reducing HIV transmissions. Creating and delivering a curriculum that teaches cultural competency to providers services LGBTQ+ persons, however, has proven challenging. Members of the healthcare workforce are just as diverse as the communities they serve. They bring their own beliefs and biases about LGBTQ+ persons and how to engage them in care. To address this issue, the DC Health Department worked with HealthHIV to create a training for providers that address how to deliver culturally-competent services for individuals within the LGBTQ+ community. Participants attending this presentation will learn about the journey of creating this curriculum, from development to implementation.

Session Learning Objectives:

  1. Discuss the cultural barriers and impact of social media and cultural norms impact impact uptake of HIV care and prevention services; 

  2. Describe the health department’s role in ensuring providers have access to culturally appropriate training materials; and

  3. Detail the development and implementation of culturally appropriate materials within the health department along with community partners.